A/N. Writing is not an easy thing to do, no matter how much you love it. I've had plenty of ups and downs as writer's block and stress fights with inspiration and the desire to just escape into another world that I can control. But one thing has always remained constant in the past year and that is the overwhelming support and encouragement I have received from my best friend, Lauren.
There were a lot of times when I was ready to give up, not only on fan fiction writing, but writing all together. There were a lot of times when I had absolutely no inspiration and no way to escape into my world of writing. It was so hard, nearly impossible sometimes, to believe in myself during these times. Writing has always been one of my favorite things to do and when I found myself unable to write, unable to lean on that one thing that helps me cope with whatever life throws at me, Lauren has always been there to believe in me enough for the both of us.
Not only has she helped me believe in who I am as a writer, but she's also helped me believe in myself as a person. 2011 has probably been the most difficult year of my life and she was always there for me. Always. So no matter how rough things got, I knew that they would get better eventually and until then I knew I could rely on Lauren. She's seen me at my highest of highs and my lowest of lows and she's still around. I don't deserve her at all, but I am extremely grateful for her.
So, this story is 100% dedicated to her. It's well over 10,00 words and was written in the span of three days because she has been a constant source of inspiration for me and writing for her is always easy and beautifully natural. I could never thank her enough for everything that she's done for me, but she is the sole reason I haven't given up on my writing by now. Thanks to her, I'll always have enough hope to keep my dream of becoming an author alive.
Thank you for everything, Lauren. Everyone in the world deserves to know someone like you. You're a beautiful person and I thank God every single day that He blessed me enough to meet you and talk with you and become incredibly close. Let's make our dream come true together, shall we? In the meantime, Merry Christmas. I love you so much.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
"He looks just like you, Kendall." Logan commented as he watched his best friend and older brother with his newborn baby in his arms. "Congratulations, bro."
Kendall's wide smile would have put the sun to shame. "Thanks," he replied, still not taking his eyes off of his precious bundle. "He does look a lot like me, doesn't he?" The pride in his voice was evident.
Logan chuckled and traded glances with his other best friends, James and Carlos. "It's the eyes," he said. "Green eyes aren't exactly common." He turned to face the woman sitting in the hospital bed close by, her eyes also on the baby. "How're you feeling, Jo?" he asked, his voice softening.
Jo smiled, the weary expression fading a little bit. "I'm a little tired," she admitted. "But I couldn't be happier right now." She readily accepted her son from Kendall and then looked up at her husband. "I'm surprised they haven't asked what his name is," she said, glancing briefly at the other three men, her eyes dancing in amusement.
Carlos blinked in surprise. "You're right!" he exclaimed. "Wow, sorry about that, guys! I guess we were just so excited that we have another little person with us that we just forgot!"
"So," James prodded. "What do I tell Chase? He's been wanting another boy to play with."
"Hey!" Carlos interjected. "He and Emily get along great!"
"Guys, neither of them are a year old." Logan said with a laugh. "They don't have much of a choice to get along with each other just yet. Wait until they're older, trust me."
James grinned and shrugged. "What can I say? Chase takes after his daddy. He started making his demands as soon as we got home from the hospital. One of them was for a fellow dude to run around with once he got old enough."
"Well," Kendall began, looking first at Jo who smiled encouragingly, and then at his friends. "His name is Christopher Jay Knight." He let his eyes move from James to Carlos to Logan where they rested, waiting for his reaction.
"Christopher Jay?" Logan repeated quietly, able to tear his eyes off of the new baby only so he could stare at Kendall in disbelief. Seriously?"
Kendall smiled again, but it was more serious this time. "Of course," he told Logan. "I wanted to have part of your name. We asked Camille first just to make sure that you weren't planning to do the same and she. . ." he trailed off, suddenly looking worried when Logan still looked deep in shock. "Is it okay?" he ventured uncertainly.
"Jay is my middle name," Logan said weakly as if no one was aware of the fact. "You gave him the same middle name as me."
"Of course we did," Jo said gently. She sat up a little and offered the baby to Logan. "We wanted him to have a good, strong name. So we named him after his uncle."
"Was I the only one who saw this coming?" James whispered to Carlos, who shook his head and grinned. "I guess Logan didn't see it though."
"No," Logan admitted shakily, looking at the baby with teary eyes. "Kendall, Jo, I don't know what to say."
"Just say that it's okay," Kendall said, trying to laugh off his unexpected nerves.
Logan looked up, suddenly aware of the tension his reaction had caused. "It's more than okay, Kendall." he said quickly. "I just. . . didn't expect it. Wow." Carefully, he lifted the baby closer to his face. "Hey," he said softly. "Hi, Christopher Jay. I'm your Uncle Logan." His fingertip carefully grazed the infant's tiny hands and he smiled when a fist closed around his finger, holding onto it with remarkable strength.
"Uncle Logie," Kendall corrected, relaxing now that he knew that Logan wasn't about to protest the name. "At least until he grows out of it, which we're hoping isn't for a very long time."
Carlos laughed at the expression on Logan's face. "If he takes after his daddy with his personality the way he does with his looks, he'll be calling him Logie for his whole life."
"Logie doesn't mind," Kendall said with a smile. "We may be adults now, but he'll always be my little brother."
Logan's face was bright red as he tried to ignore the affectionate teasing from his friends and focus on his namesake. "Don't let your daddy fool you," he whispered. "I'm only three months younger than him."
"Yeah, but that's enough. Besides," Kendall reached over and mussed Logan's hair, careful not to disturb his friend too much since he was still holding baby Chris. "I'm a lot taller than you too. You're pretty little, Logie." He dropped his hand and rested it on Logan's shoulder. "So you're okay with his name?" he asked once more.
Clearing his throat, Logan nodded. "It's a honor," he whispered. "I couldn't thank you enough."
"We know you aren't related by blood," Kendall said softly. "But we're hoping that the name alone makes him as strong as you. If not, then maybe it'll at least give him something to lean on. So when he's going through a rough time, I can tell him that he's named after the strongest person I know."
"What you call being strong, I call having the best friends anyone could ever ask for," Logan corrected. "Thank you, Kendall and Jo. This really does mean a lot." He gently freed his finger from the baby's grip and placed a light kiss to the soft forehead before handing him back to Jo and moving to hug Kendall.
James smiled as he watched the brotherly exchange. "Just wait until you and Camille have a son, Logie. You can return the favor and name him after Kendall." he said teasingly.
"Wait a minute, what about Emily?" Carlos protested. "She's going to be the only girl!"
"Lucky girl," James said with a smirk, ducking Carlos' punch. "I'm kidding, Carlos! Our boys will protect her."
"Yeah," Logan agreed. "Don't worry, Carlos. One day Emily will either have a best friend to have tea parties with her or another big brother to take the best care of her. It runs in the family even though it has nothing to do with blood."
James nodded in agreement and then glanced at the clock on the wall. "Speaking of family, I have to get going. Julie and the girls want to come by and visit later so we'd better give you some peace and quiet. Coming, guys?"
"Yeah," Logan said reluctantly, following James' lead. "We didn't want to crowd you. That can wait until you get home." He laughed and hugged Kendall one last time, leaning down to kiss Jo and the baby. "Congratulations again, you two. You'll be incredible parents. And thanks. . . really."
"See you, bro." Kendall said, accepting congratulatory hugs from both James and Carlos. "Thanks for coming by."
Logan left with his two friends, parting ways in the parking lot. "Tell the girls I said hi," he told Carlos. "Same with Julie and Chase, buddy."
"Camille too, Logan." Carlos told him. "See you around."
Watching his friends walk to their cars, Logan slipped inside his car and turned the key in the ignition, sighing in relief when the engine roared to life right away. The car had been giving him trouble for a while now and today he wanted to get home as soon as possible to tell his wife everything about the latest addition to their family; his nephew, Christopher Jay Knight.
He thought about the baby he had held in his arms for all too brief a time, just minutes ago. As a doctor, seeing newborn babies was nothing new to him. He was a surgeon and didn't work with mothers and their babies, but every day at the hospital, he made it a point to stop by the nursery wing to see if he could catch a glimpse of any tiny boys or girls.
A newborn baby was the most beautiful sight anyone could ever hope to see. He had always thought it was truly amazing that a person could be so small and have a heart and lungs and everything that gave them life. He loved the small wrinkles on their faces and their small fingers and toes and how dependent they were on the adults in charge of them. To be a parent had to be the greatest gift and greatest responsibility a person could ever be given.
Seeing first James and then Carlos and now Kendall become fathers had been an incredible joy. He was certain that the three of them would be the best fathers ever to their children. No one was more deserving of that special gift and responsibility. He could only hope that when he and Camille became parents, that he would be the father that he had always wanted as a little boy growing up.
"So today we find out if we're having a boy or girl," Logan said as he pulled into the parking lot and found a space close to the entrance. He jerked the keys out of the ignition, nearly breaking the chain in the process.
Camille laughed softly at his enthusiasm. "I know, believe me, I know." She reached out and took his hand, giving it a tight squeeze. "I'm so excited, Logan! We can finally start calling our baby him or her and pick out the name and everything!"
"We do have the names picked out," Logan reminded her. "Jeffrey Alexander or Chloe Joy."
"I know," Camille smiled at him and released his hand so she could climb out of the car. "I want to make sure though, Logan. I love both of those names, you know that. It's just. . . are you sure you'd rather name him- if it's a boy, Jeffrey Alexander? What about Scott Michael?"
Meeting his wife as she walked around the front of the car, Logan took her arm and led her to the front door of the doctor's office. "I'm positive," he promised her with a small smile. "I know I told you that I've always wanted to name one of my kids Scotty or Chloe after my unborn sibling, but. . . Kendall is more important. And this isn't just because of Christopher Jay. I've always wanted to name my first son after him. It can't begin to compare to what he's done for me but. . ."
Logan stepped ahead and opened the door for Camille then followed her inside. "After everything that's happened, part of me wishes we could just have three boys so I could name them all after the guys. They've done so much for me. I could never repay them for anything but. . . I think that this might. . . help a little. Besides," he added, looking at her with a hopeful grin. "If we ever have another son, we can name him after Scotty."
"Another son?" Camille repeated, eyebrows raised slightly. "So you think we're having a boy?"
Logan dropped his hand to rest it on Camille's slightly rounded stomach, keeping his eyes on her. "Yeah, I do." he said with a laugh. "And I'm going to teach him how to-"
"Excuse me?" the woman behind the nurse smiled at them. "I'm sorry, I don't want to interrupt you, but could you sign in real quick please?"
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Camille giggled and stepped away from Logan and up to the desk.
"First baby?" asked the woman, noting the giddy looks on the couple's faces.
"Yes," Logan broke in, shooting a teasing glance at Camille as she signed in. "We're taking a poll if you're interested. Boy or girl?"
Laughing, the woman took a moment to think carefully. "A girl," she decided, glancing apologetically at Logan. "I bet she'll be Daddy's little princess too."
Logan wrapped an arm around Camille and pulled her close. "That's right," he said softly. "I'll have tea parties with her and Carlos and Emily and they'll bake cookies with our wives, Camille and Lauren, and they won't be allowed to date until they're at least twenty-five."
"No way," Camille shook her head. "My baby girl is going to the prom, when she's old enough."
Logan frowned, considering Camille's statement. "Okay," he relented. "But only if Chris takes her."
"Logan, Chris and Chloe will be cousins." Camille reminded him as they walked away from the desk and sat down.
"Exactly!" Logan exclaimed, looking unfazed. "I'm not trusting my baby girl with anyone else but family. That way they won't-"
"Stop!" Camille commanded, holding up a hand. "Chris has just started crawling and we don't even know if we're having Jeffrey or Chloe." But she smiled, erasing any trace of harshness in her voice. "You're going to be an amazing father, Logan Mitchell."
A shadow passed over Logan's face. "Do you really think so?" he asked somewhat doubtfully.
Instead of scolding him, Camille simply took his hand and laid it on her stomach again. "Logan," she said quietly. "Who have you looked up to for your entire life? Ryan Mitchell or Kendall Knight? You told me once that he was like a father figure to you. Has that ever changed?"
Almost immediately, the shadow was chased away with Logan's relieved smile. "No, it never has," he told her. "Between Kendall and Papa, I actually had two of the best father figures to look up to and to lean on."
"Right," Camille said with a firm nod. "So between Carlos' father and Kendall. .. I think you've had two great examples. Besides," she squeezed his hand. "Like everyone has always told you, Logan, you are nothing like your own father. Don't let what he did to you make you insecure or doubt yourself. The only thing Ryan Mitchell is, is a testament to just how incredible you are. This little boy or girl will be the luckiest little boy or girl in the world."
Logan opened his mouth to thank her, but just then, the side door opened to reveal another nurse. "Camille Mitchell?" she asked with a friendly, welcoming smile.
"That's me!" Camille bounded to her feet, pulling Logan up as well. "Come on, Daddy!"
Logan chuckled and let his wife drag him down the hall to the private ultrasound room. "Just for the record," he began, stealing a kiss before Camille laid down on the table. "I still think that this little peanut is a boy."
"Mhm," Logan grinned as he took his seat down next to her. "I'm going to teach him everything he needs to know, don't worry. How to play hockey, the best time to pick apples, how to climb a tree, how to ride a bike. . . everything."
The nurse switched on the screen and turned it to the couple so they could see as well. "This gel is going to feel a little cold," she warned Camille with a smile.
Camille caught her breath slightly and then relaxed, holding onto Logan's hand tightly, her eyes riveted on the screen. "If you're going to have tea parties with our daughter and play hockey with our son, what do I get to do?"
"You get to be," Logan brushes his lips over her small fingers as he thought. "You get to be the world's greatest mommy and teach our little girl how to defend herself against all those boys who will be after her by the time she gets to middle school. And for our boy. . . you can teach him how to treat a lady."
"All he needs to do is look at his father and he'll do just fine," replied Camille, giving Logan's hand another squeeze.
The two of them fell silent after a little while as they watched the nurse move the small hand held device over Camille's stomach as she stared intently at the screen in front of her. Logan studied her blank expression carefully and then looked again at the screen with a practiced doctor's eye.
It was then that Camille heard her husband take in a sharp breath and she immediately turned her head to look at him. "What is it?" she asked worriedly. "Logan? Is everything okay?"
Logan didn't answer her. It was like he hadn't even heard her. His demeanor had changed entirely from joyful and excited to tense and unbelieving. His face had gone white and his eyes looked huge with fear. "Nurse," he finally spoke, his voice choked and shaky. "Can you-"
The nurse removed the device from Camille's stomach and set it aside. She turned to the couple, her eyes full of compassion. "Have you felt the baby move at all lately?"
Camille looked stricken by her words and it took a moment for her to answer. "I-" she faltered, looking at Logan. "I- yes. I felt the baby move a couple days ago. Remember, Logan? You were there!" She barely noticed that her voice had risen slightly and had grown higher in pitch.
Wordlessly, Logan nodded. His shoulders were heaving up and down as he struggled to breathe, and by now, his grip on Camille's hand was so tight that their knuckles were turning white. "That's right," he spoke eventually in a whisper. "I did. We had just eaten dinner and-" he cut himself off and fell silent.
Instead of speaking again at first, the nurse placed the device on Camille once again and moved it around slowly, looking at the screen.
Camille looked up at Logan, because the nurse and the screen weren't helping her. But Logan looked crushed, absolutely devastated. And even though a part of her knew what was happening, the rest of her refused to believe it. This was only something she would ever read about or see on TV. It could never happen to someone she knew and certainly not to her and Logan. "Logan," she pleaded in a whisper.
"Camille-" Logan tried to speak, but his voice broke in the middle of her name and suddenly he had gathered in her arms and was weeping.
"I'm very sorry," the nurse said, speaking for Camille's lost and broken husband. "I'm afraid I can't detect a heartbeat or any sign of movement." She was quiet, waiting for the news to sink in.
The nurse's words confirmed what Logan's tears had already told Camille. Her worst fear had been realized. They had lost their baby. Their little miracle was no more. Just like that. "But," she whispered, feeling helpless. "I- that can't be. . . We just felt him- or her move the other day."
"It can happen very quickly," the nurse said regretfully. "I'm so sorry." She caught the glance Logan gave her and nodded as she stood up. "I'm going to give you two some privacy."
Camille watched her go, wanting to call her back and demand that she check again. Surely, there must have been something that she missed. But in her heart, that was slowly breaking with every sob that jerked Logan's body, she knew that it would do no good. It was over. She started to cry then and almost right away, Logan's own tears ceased as he pulled himself together long enough to comfort her. "Logan, no." she whimpered into his shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he told her, holding her tightly. "I'm so sorry, Camille."
Logan woke to the sound of someone knocking at the front door and the ringing of his cell phone. The simultaneous noises were enough to jolt him out of the stupor he had been in since early yesterday afternoon. Yawning, he stretched and peered through tear swollen eyes at the alarm clock that sat on the nightstand. 6:43 in the afternoon. Over twenty four hours since their entire world has been turned upside down.
Neither noise had stopped yet, and fearing that Camille would wake after she had been up since yesterday crying off and on, Logan rose from the bed, careful so he didn't disturb her. Then he stumbled into the hall and down the stairs, forgetting that his cellphone was right in his pocket. He flung the door open hardly feeling the cold January air that knifed through his t-shirt.
"Logan, thank God!" A strong pair of arms wrapped around him briefly before releasing him and Kendall was holding him at arm's length, letting his cell phone fall to the floor. "I thought you and Camille were coming over for dinner tonight but you didn't! You didn't even call or. . . or answer any of my calls and no one has even heard from you since early yesterday and . ." Kendall trailed off when he began to really see Logan for the first time. A dread, colder than the icy weather outside, stole over him and his grip on Logan's shoulders tightened. "Logan?" he said fearfully.
Logan looked at him with dead eyes and shook his head. "Camille and I went to an ultrasound yesterday," he whispered. "She's asleep upstairs. She was up all night. . . crying."
Kendall's eyes were wide in concern and fear. "Why?" he asked, his voice dropping to a whisper.
Instead of answering him, Logan's face crumpled and he felt his legs give out from underneath him. He found himself on the floor with Kendall holding onto him, begging him to tell him what was wrong. But the sobs were coming with more force than yesterday or earlier today now that he didn't have Camille to be strong for. He could hardly breathe, he was crying so hard.
"Logie," Kendall said, finally understanding. "Logan buddy, I'm so sorry, bro." His own eyes stung with tears and soon he was blinded as he began to cry for the lost life they would never know. For the lost niece or nephew that he would never hold.
"It hurts," Logan told him, sounding like a child as he clung to the one who had been his main source of comfort for as long as he could remember. "I didn't think it could hurt so much, Kendall. I never thought that it would happen to us but even so. . . I- it was a girl, Kendall. We had a little girl and we lost her. I lost my baby girl. My princess."
The sorrow was deeper and darker than even Kendall could reach past. Logan had never known such heartache, not even when his father had abandoned him when he was seventeen years old. It literally felt like a knife had been stabbed into his chest and someone had carved out his heart. It hurt because for once Kendall couldn't tell him that everything was going to be okay. This was a hurt that would never go away.
Kendall couldn't tell him that everything was going to be okay, so he didn't say anything. He sat there with his hand on Logan's back in silent support. Gradually, Logan felt his breathing start to return to normal as his tears slowed. "I don't understand," he couldn't help saying as he tried to sit up. He felt emotionally and physically drained. Exhausted. He wanted to sleep for and not wake up until the blackness in life faded away.
"I don't understand either, Logan." Kendall said helplessly.
Logan couldn't look at Kendall and see the pain and suffering in his eyes. It would only magnify his own suffering. "Camille would have been the best mom ever," he said lifelessly. "I don't understand why this would happen to her. To us. Haven't we already been through enough?"
They had been through more than enough for one hundred people as far as Kendall was concerned. "Logan," he said with a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry. You would have been amazing parents and I don't understand why this is happening to you of all people. After everything. . ." he shook his head. "Listen, Logan. I don't get it. I don't get it at all. But I can promise you one thing."
Logan didn't feel like promises, but he waited for Kendall to go on, staring blindly at the wooden floor.
Kendall touched Logan on the shoulder, forcing his brother to look up at him. "I promise that you two aren't going to be alone. I'm here and so is James and Carlos and Julie and Lauren and Mom and Katie and everyone else. We're right here for you and I promise that we always will be. We'll make it through this together."
For this one thing, Logan was grateful. Because he knew that there was no way they were going to make it through this trial by themselves. They had their family and he had to believe that just like always, they would see them through it.
It was surprising how much it could hurt losing a child that you would never really know. But maybe that's why it hurt so much. Because Logan and Camille would lay awake at night, keeping quiet in case the other was asleep. They would lay awake, lost in thoughts of the daughter they would never meet. Would she have looked like her father or her mother? Would she have had Logan's brilliance or Camille's passion or both? They would never know anything about her. They could only dream about her.
It hurt to dream about her. At first, Logan had dreams nearly every night about a beautiful little girl who looked exactly like Camille. He dreamed of them having tea parties and playing with dolls or going for walks, when suddenly, he would turn around and she would be gone. And no matter how long he searched, he could never find her.
The dreams eventually forced him backwards in his struggles with insomnia and he hardly slept at all, laying awake long past midnight, his thoughts scattered and aimless, somehow always coming back to his lost baby girl. Logan never quite figured out if his dreams or the insomnia was the worst form of torture.
Logan had lost track of how much time had passed. To him it felt like the days had crept by at an agonizing pace and he could tell that Camille felt the same way. So he was taken aback when he walked outside one morning to get the paper and there was no longer a harsh chill in the air. The sun felt warm and the birds were singing.
"It's a beautiful day," he remarked to Camille as he returned to the house, dropping the paper on the kitchen table and sitting down next to her as she stared into her mug of coffee. "Do you want to go for a walk later on?"
She glanced up at him, her beautiful eyes still dimmed by the grief only a parent who has lost a child will ever know. "A walk," she repeated as though she had never heard the word before.
"Yeah," Logan reached across the table and covered her small hand in his. "Camille, I know you're still hurting a lot. So am I. But. . . we-" he stopped himself. How could he say out loud that they needed to move on when he wasn't sure if he could even do it? According to the calender it was mid-March and he still felt weighted down by the heavy sorrow that covered their home like a blanket. It felt almost callous suggesting that they try to move on after such a loss.
"You're right," Camille said quietly and unexpectedly. "I'm just not sure how to." Tears brightened her eyes as she looked at him. "I feel like I don't know how to do anything anymore, Logan. I've always wanted to be a mother and-"
He couldn't stand to see her so lost anymore. "Cam, we can. . . try again you know." he said in a rush, interrupting her before he could give his words a second thought. "Maybe not now but. . . later if you want. I know that no child we have can never take the place of the one we lost but. . . I think it might help. Maybe?" With each word, he felt like he was continuing on further down the wrong road but he couldn't stop himself. "We could try again," he repeated, bracing himself for Camille's reaction.
Again she surprised him. "Could we?" she ventured, looking scared. "But Logan, what if. . . what if it happens again?"
He couldn't bear the thought of it happening again. They were barely surviving this miscarriage, how on earth would they survive another? But then again, it had been one of their dreams to have a family together. To have children. It would never come true if they sat around, drowning in their sorrows. "I don't know," he finally answered with a helpless shrug. "But this," he gestured around the room. "Isn't helping."
Camille lowered her head and nodded slowly. "You're right," she said in a whisper. "I'm just so afraid, Logan. I thought becoming a mother would be the best thing ever next to being married to you. I just never imagined that this would happen and that we would-" she mimicked Logan's hand gestures. "Be like this."
"We'll make it through this," he told her, repeating Kendall's words to him. "Together. Camille, I don't know what's going to happen to us but I do know that we'll always be together for it. You and me. And our family."
"Okay," Camille moved from her chair to sit on Logan's lap, resting her head on his shoulder. "I love you, Logan." she told him quietly, tears dripping from her eyes and running down her cheeks to dampen Logan's shirt. "I'm so sorry I couldn't give you your baby girl but maybe-"
"Hey," Logan cut her off and gently forced her away so that she was looking at him. "Camille, listen to me. What happened to our baby girl was not your fault. No one was to blame, especially you."
"But maybe if I had-"
"Has this been bothering you the whole time?" Guilt crept into Logan's eyes, increasing when his wife nodded. "Camille," his voice broke. "I'm so sorry, baby. I should have noticed. . . Listen, sweetie. It wasn't your fault. You were doing everything that you were supposed to and it wasn't even late in the pregnancy. Miscarriages. . . the earlier the pregnancy, the more likely they are to happen, even if the mother is doing absolutely everything right. And you were doing everything right, Camille. It was not your fault, I promise. Please believe me."
Camille melted into his protective embrace and again put her head on his shoulder, letting her tears fall. The burden she had been carrying for so long was eased by Logan's words, but only a little bit. With time, it would lessen even more, but it would never truly go away. There would always be a part of her that told her she could have done something to prevent their loss. An empty space in her heart that should have grown in love as she watched their daughter grow.
"Listen to me," Logan murmured comfortingly. "You are going to be a mother one day. And you are going to be the most amazing mother ever. And whether we have a boy or a girl, he or she will want everyone to know that they're your kid. And all of their friends will be so jealous because they'll want you to be their mom too." He kissed her softly on the lips and then pulled away to look into her eyes. "I promise that you'll be a mother one day, Camille."
Were some promises made to be broken even if it wasn't intentional? Logan had always been extremely wary of promises after growing up with an absent father who had made and broken promises time after time. He rarely tried to hold anyone to their promises and he rarely made any sort of promises himself. Kendall had always said that a broken promise would result in a broken heart. And for Logan, a broken heart would result in a broken trust. Trust was a fragile thing and once it was broken, it wasn't easy to repair.
It wasn't his fault though apparently. At least that's what the doctors told him when they went to go see why Camille had yet to become pregnant again. Nearly a year had passed since Logan had promised his wife that she would be a mother one day and they had tried but had yet to succeed.
It baffled every doctor they went to visit. Both Camille and Logan were in perfect health and there was no reason, they were told, that the couple shouldn't be able to conceive a child, especially since it had already happened once before. Eventually though, they started suggesting medical assistance, naming terms like in vitro fertilization.
At first Camille was hesitant, saying that she had always wanted to do everything naturally. Logan could see her point since medical assistance was usual a last resort for couples and it didn't make sense for them to need help since they were both apparently in perfect health. But with each negative test that passed, he could see her resolve wavering and finally she gave in.
But not even that worked. They went through several procedures, letting themselves feel hopeful each time. And every time they went to the doctor, those hopes would be crushed. Logan could see Camille fading entirely from him, out of his grasp as the months continued to pass by.
It wasn't fair. She deserved to have everything she wished for in her life and she couldn't even have a child. What angered Logan the most was that there were countless girls who slept around with their boyfriends of three days and got pregnant only to casually abort their babies, throwing away an innocent life. So why was this happening to them?
It was September now. The Minnesota air had grown chilly once more and Logan was sitting at the kitchen table nursing a warm mug of coffee when there was a knock at the front door. With a sigh, he stood up slowly and made his way down the hall, meeting Camille on her way from the laundry room. "I could have gotten it," he said softly as he watched her open the door.
The smile almost reached her eyes as Camille stepped back to let their visitor in. "Come on in, it feels freezing outside." She wrapped her arms around her small frame and shivered slightly.
"Mom," Logan said in surprise, stepping forward to take his mother's coat as she too it off. "Hi, what are you doing here?" He kissed her and then quickly set her added, "Not that I mind, it's just that. . . is everything okay?"
Jennifer Knight met her son's tired eyes with concern. "You tell me," she said softly. "I've been worried about both of you. We all have. Have you. . . been to the doctor lately?"
Camille shook her head. "Not for almost two months," she whispered. "It hasn't worked in the past few months, why would it work now? Besides," she glanced at Logan. "I took a pregnancy test a couple days ago. It was negative."
Logan felt his heart sink a little lower. "You didn't tell me."
"Logan, what's the point anymore?" asked Camille, tears suddenly filling her eyes. "I'm tired of letting you down. I thought that if I just didn't tell you, then maybe-"
"You're not letting me down." Logan cut her off, grabbing her hand in his and squeezing it to get her attention. "Camille, none of this is your fault. The doctors have said over and over again that they have no idea why. . . you know."
"All right," Jennifer broke in gently before anyone could get more upset. "I came over here to talk to you two about something. Now, I'm going to suggest it and then if you don't want to hear anything more about it then I'll let it go. But I think you at least to consider it as another option."
In spite of himself, Logan felt curious. "Let's go sit down," he said, hanging his mother's coat up and then taking each woman's arm and leading them into the family room. "Before we sit, do either of you want coffee or tea or maybe hot chocolate? It is pretty cold outside."
"But it's warm in here," Jennifer pointed out with a smile. "I'm fine, thank you, Logan. Camille?"
Camille sank down on the couch and shook her head mutely. His eyes on his wife, Logan sat down next to her and spoke. "What were you thinking?"
"Camille, Logan. . ." Jennifer tried uselessly to get Camille to look up, her concern only increasing for the younger woman, She reached across the small space between the three of them and took Logan's free hand in hers. "I was talking to Kendall and Katie earlier today. We were talking about a very special day for our family. It happened about eight years ago when you were seventeen, Logan."
Two words came simultaneously to Logan's mind when he heard those words. Cancer and adopted. He had been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when he was seventeen. But as terrifying as that had been, one thing had overshadowed everything, including the fact that he might very easily die before he graduated high school. He had been adopted.
Instant tears stung his eyes and he tried to wipe them away, only to realize that both his hands were taken. He sniffed instead and tried to blink the tears away. "Adoption," he said aloud in a voice that shook very slightly. "I. . . we haven't actually thought of that at all."
It seemed silly to him now, that they had never even entertained the idea of adopting a child. But it made so much sense. Not only would they be getting a son or a daughter, but they would also be giving a boy or a girl a loving home, something he had wished for when he was small. It should be a fairly easy process too. There was absolutely no reason that they wouldn't be eligible. The only thing was- Logan caught his breath and glanced to his side. "Camille?"
Camille was quiet, taking a longer time to consider Jennifer's words than Logan. "I've never thought of adoption," she admitted. "Even when I was younger. The idea of raising another person's child always seemed. . . strange. I've just always wanted my own child."
Pausing, Camille took a deep breath and then continued. "But that hasn't happened." Her voice cracked slightly and Logan squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I know that adoption is a wonderful thing." She looked up and smiled at Logan and his mother. "And I don't think that I would love a little boy or girl any less if they weren't my own. I know I would love them just as much. Like you love Logan."
Jennifer smiled, feeling a hope swell in her heart when she saw the darkness being chased away out of Camille's eyes. "You're absolutely right, Camille. Ever since the first day he came over to play with Kendall when they were just five years old, I've loved him like he was my own son."
"It's breaking my heart," she went on. "What's happening to you, I mean. I know you've probably heard this from everyone, even myself, before, but there is no reason on earth that the two of you should be dealing with something like this. You deserve all the happiness in the world, not all this heartache. I think you had enough heartache for the rest of your lives by the time you were eighteen."
"We made it through that and I know we'll make it through this," Logan said softly. "I just wish it could somehow be easier."
"Sweetie, if I could make it hurt less than I would. For both of you."
Logan shook his head. "You're the best mother anyone could ask for," he told her. "You have made it hurt less just by being with us. Everyone has."
"Adoption," Camille repeated, drawing the attention of both Logan and his mother. "Logan, I knew you before you were adopted and after. I've talked to Kendall and James and Carlos and your mom and Katie about what you went through and of course I've talked to you. When I think about your life before and then look at your life now. . . I want to do the same thing. I want to be a mom and I want to give a baby the best home I can. It doesn't matter if we're not related by blood, we'd still be family."
"My only regret in adoption Logan is that I didn't do it sooner," Jennifer told them. "I could have saved him so much hurt."
"But he's so happy now," Camille replied, looking at Logan. "It's like whatever he went through doesn't matter anymore because he has you and Kendall and Katie for a family."
"They've always been my family," said Logan quietly. "I've always said that the adoption just made things official and gave me a good excuse to call her my mom." He looked carefully at Camille, his expression concerned. "So are you saying you're ready to try something new? Adoption?"
Camille didn't hesitate, but nodded. "Yes," she said firmly. "Because I'm so tired of all these tests that disappoint us and doctors appointments that lead to nothing. I know that it might take some time but at least we can depend on it more. Right?"
Logan took a deep breath and nodded in agreement. "Right," he said. "We can apply as soon as you want to and then. . ." he shrugged. "We wait. But I think that this could be our chance, Camille, I really do."
Camille smiled again, this time her eyes lighting up in excitement and a new hope. There were tears in her eyes but they weren't the tears of grief and sorrow. They were tears of a joy that she had almost given up on. "We're going to be parents, Logan." she said quietly. "One day, we will become parents."
The day had finally arrived. It had been another long process although this time, the results were different. Logan and Camille had been notified by the adoption agency that a young, unwed mother-to-be had selected them to care for her baby due in December, just around Christmas.
Right away, they called all their family and friends and shared the joyful news with everyone. Then they found out everything they could about their baby. It was going to be a boy and his exact due date was December 24th, so they knew that they would be celebrating Christmas or the New Year or maybe both with the new addition to their family.
Since they knew that they were getting a boy, Logan painted the nursery a beautiful blue and then let Camille and the other women take over the rest of the artistic details. The one other thing he contributed to was a beautiful wooden crib, with little animals carved into the frame. He spent hours in the garage, sometimes working until two in the morning before he realized what time it was and that he needed to be at the hospital for work at eight.
It was worth it though. All of it was worth it. The splinter and cuts that covered his hands were hardly felt once he and Kendall fit the end result inside the nursery. It was the best nursery he could ever imagine and it was hard to believe that one day very soon, it would be occupied by a little boy. His son.
Little Emily, Chase and Chris were just old enough by now to understand that they would be getting a new playmate very soon. Carlos and Lauren, James and Julie, and Jo and especially Kendall, were almost as excited as Logan and Camille, counting down the days on the calender to the "Mitchell's Christmas miracle" as they had started calling it.
The day could not have started off more perfectly when Logan and Camille received a call at 6:34 on Christmas Day morning. Their baby's mother had just arrived at the hospital and the baby was expected to arrive within only a few hours. It was absolutely freezing outside and despite the fact that he had grabbed Camille's coat, Logan was dressed in an old hockey jersey of Kendall's that he had stolen when they were still in high school, and a pair of sweatpants.
"Logan, go back and put on something warmer," Camille ordered halfheartedly. She was far too ecstatic to actually mean it. She wanted to get to the hospital as soon as possible, just like Logan.
"No, it's f-fine," Logan shook his head, trying to stop himself from shivering. "We're almost halfway there anyway, no point in t-turning around."
"Yes, but we don't want Jeffery's first two weeks at home to include you having the flu." Camille tried one last time, part of her hoping that Logan would still refuse.
He didn't let her down. "Camille, it's okay." Logan seemed to be working extra hard to keep his teeth from chattering. "The car will warm up soon and then the hospital will be warm enough. It's okay, really."
"Did you call the others?"
"Kendall," he told her, stopping at a red light. "I called Kendall. He said he was going to call everyone else. Then he told me to take a million pictures and come home as soon as possible. Did I remember the car seat?"
"Logan, eyes on the road." Camille reminded him. "Yes, for the fifth time, you remembered the car seat. Now be careful, please. It's starting to snow again."
Logan wanted to break all the speed records to get to his son. He knew that they couldn't be there for the birth and that it was a closed adoption, so they wouldn't be meeting the mother at all. But that didn't lessen his anticipation at all. Still, he had greater self control than he gave himself credit for and managed to keep at the speed limit all the way to the hospital.
They sprinted heedlessly across the parking lot, slipping and nearly falling several times before they arrived safely inside. "Hi," Logan said breathlessly to the woman at the reception desk. "We're here for-" he stopped, unsure of what to say. "We're adopting a baby here. He's supposed to be born sometime soon today."
The woman asked them for their names and then directed them upstairs to the labor and delivery waiting room. "I can't believe it," Logan whispered, feeling like he might disturb the patients far down the hall with the doors closed. "Camille, in just a few hours, we're going to be parents of a beautiful baby boy!"
"I know!" Happy tears blurred Camille's eyesight and she leaned in close to hug Logan. "Thank you so much for not letting me give up." she whispered.
"We did it together," he told her softly. "With everyone else right there with us, just like always."
They waited for only three and a half hours, but it felt like three and a half years to them. Finally, the woman from the adoption agency came walking down the hall with a nurse behind her. Camille and Logan stood up quickly, catching a glimpse of a small bundle in the nurse's arms. Camille gripped onto Logan's arm tightly, her fingernails digging into his skin.
"Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell," the woman, her name was Irene, greeted them with a warm smile. "Merry Christmas. I have a special delivery for the two of you. Meet your new son."
The nurse took another step forward and carefully handed over the baby to Camille. "Congratulations," she said happily. "He's beautiful, isn't he?"
"He's perfect," Camille said in wonderment. "Absolutely perfect. Look at him, Logan! Look at our son! Isn't he perfect?"
"He is," Logan swallowed past the lump in his throat and blinked back the tears that were blinding him. "Hey, little guy." he whispered. "Daddy loves you. So does Mommy. We both love you so much, buddy."
"Jeffrey Alexander Mitchell," Camille said softly. "He looks just like a Jeffrey Alexander Mitchell, doesn't he?"
"He does." Logan gratefully accepted the baby from Camille and sat down, cradling his son closely. "I can't wait for everyone to meet you later on today." he told the baby who was staring up at him with wide blue eyes. "I can't wait to take you everywhere and do everything with you and tell everyone we meet that I'm your daddy."
The couple was so engrossed in the newborn child that they didn't even notice the other nurse as she joined the other two women. They didn't hear the hushed, urgent voices. They were oblivious to everything and everyone around them until an intruder stepped into their perfect world and brought it all down. "Excuse me,"
Logan tore his gaze off of the baby and looked up at her. "Yes?"
The nurse seemed to be struggling with her words, glancing at Irene and the other nurse. "I'm very sorry. . ." she began. "But I'm afraid-"
"You're afraid what?" Logan asked tensely, holding the baby even closer. "What is it?"
Irene looked at them apologetically. "I've worked at the agency for fifteen years and this has only happened three times." she said softly.
"What?" Logan demanded. He handed the baby to Camille and stood up. "What are you telling us?"
"The. . . um, I'm afraid that the birth mother. . . has. . . well, she changed her mind." Irene finally said.
Logan felt as though she had stabbed him straight in the heart where he had finally healed. Of all the things he had expected she would say, this had never crossed his mind. He couldn't even snap back at her. "What?' he whispered.
To her credit, Irene did look incredibly sorry for them. She looked almost close to tears. "Because the last of the contract isn't signed until after the birth," she said slowly. "It's a precaution just in case one of the parties. . . in this case the birth mother. . . changes their mind. It's a very big decision to make and-"
"So you're saying that. . . he isn't ours." Logan almost choked on the words. "You're taking him away from us? Just like that?"
Irene nodded to the nurse who stepped forward to take the baby from Camille. "I am so sorry," she exclaimed, shaking her head as if she was almost as stunned as they were. "I honestly don't know what to say right now."
"No," Camille shook her head and moved away from the nurse. "Please, no. Don't do this. Please." She was shaking violently but trying to hold herself together for the sake of the baby in her arms. "You can't- you can't do this." She lowered her head and kissed the baby's soft forehead. "He's our son and we already love him so much. You can't just take him."
"Listen," Irene said gently, her own voice trembling as she watched the couple's joy change to anguish in mere seconds. "Like I said, this almost never happens. I'm sure that after you take a little time off and then-"
"No!" Camille said, louder this time as the nurse took the baby away. She stood up and started to follow but was stopped by Logan. "No, that's my son! My baby boy! You can't take him away, please!"
"Camille," Logan felt as if his lungs has been twisted inside out. He could hardly breathe as he watched the nurse get further down the hall with his son. "There has to be something you can do." He turned pleadingly to Irene who sadly shook her head.
"Jeffrey!" Camille was screaming. "Bring our baby back, please!"
By now, Logan realized the staying would cause more harm than good. The nurse had disappeared with the baby and Irene was trying to tell them about next time. Camille was practically in hysterics and had dropped to her knees on the floor, crying for the baby to be brought back.
He shifted into autopilot mode and took Camille's arm. "Come on," he whispered, ignoring Irene and the remaining nurse. "Let's get home, Camille. There. . . there's nothing for us here. Not anymore."
He had no idea how he got his wife outside and back in the car. He had no idea how he drove down the roads avoiding the icy patches. He could hardly think at all. It was like all of his thoughts had been frozen in time the instant they had been given the news. It was like everything had stopped.
Logan didn't even notice the cars parked in along the street once they got home, somehow without him crashing. The only thing he was still aware of was Camille and he helped her get out of the car. She was in a trance, like the day of the miscarriage, only this was somehow so much worse. "Let's go inside," he told her in a monotone voice.
Before they got even halfway to the house, the front door was flung wide open and Kendall was there, followed by a crowd of people that Logan couldn't recognize despite having known them for nearly all his life. He noticed only Kendall, but this time not even Kendall was enough.
"What happened? Why are you home so soon?" Kendall demanded, hurrying to Logan's side where he was practically carrying in a catatonic Camille. "Logan?"
Logan shook his head and continued on his blind march to the house. The sea of people parted, letting them pass through into the warmer interior. But the cheerful fire blazing away did nothing to thaw the thick, impenetrable layer of ice that now coated Logan's heart. "I'm taking Camille upstairs," he announced to everyone, sounding very much like a robot or something just as dead and not alive.
Swinging his wife up into his arms, Logan walked slowly up the stairs and straight into their room. He lowered Camille down on the bed and knelt beside her, brushing her dark curls out of her eyes, ignoring the small clumps of snow that fell and melted onto the pillow. "Camille," he said. "I'm so sorry."
She didn't answer him. He didn't expect her to. Instead, Camille simply turned her face into her pillow and shook with sobs. Her fingers wrapped around his hand and clung to it tightly, holding onto him as though he were her lifeline.
Logan was beside her on the bed in the next instant and gathered her small body into his arms, holding as tightly as he could. The grief and sorrow they had felt earlier that year had returned, this time so much stronger. They had actually held the baby in their arms this time and he had still been taken away. Nearly everything had been said or done and it had never crossed their minds that it could have all come undone with such violence.
Yet another life had been taken away from them and they were left with a million tiny pieces left of their broken hearts. Pieces that had been put back together after the first time only because they had been given such a beautiful hope and promise in this adoption. A hope and a promise that had been broken, breaking their hearts all over again, this time in a way that Logan doubted could ever be fixed again.
They cried together, for how long he had no idea. But eventually Camille cried herself into a fitful sleep and he recalled the crowd of frantic friends and family members that they had left downstairs. Feeling as though a paralysis was spreading throughout his body making it difficult for him to move, Logan kissed Camille's tear streaked face and then stood slowly.
Logan leaned on the wall for support because his legs felt shaky and useless. He stumbled down the stairs, only aware of his surroundings just enough to be surprised to find only Kendall and his mother waiting for him. He didn't even notice the Christmas tree or the wrapped gifts that were piled underneath the tree. He had forgotten that it was Christmas in the first place.
"Baby, what happened?" Jennifer met him instantly and with Kendall's help, led him to the couch where he began to cry again.
"Mommy," he sobbed, unsure of whether she was holding onto him or if it was Kendall. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. "We lost him."
Logan heard them gasp and then start to cry quietly and he realized that they probably thought he meant that the baby had died. He needed to tell them what really happened. But really, what was the difference?
It had been nearly impossible for them to move on after their first loss. Just as they had both said countless times, they never would have been able to make it through without their loving family and friends. They had stayed nearby throughout the miscarriage and throughout the failed attempts to get pregnant again. They continued to stay close by through the latest heartbreak, but everyone could see that this time was different.
Camille had always been so fiery and passionate, determined in everything she got involved in. But the last year had taken a horrible, drastic toll on her usually sunny and optimistic personality. She grew depressed and pale, losing weight until she looked like she was about to disappear entirely any day. Logan confided to his mother that she cried herself to sleep every night and that nothing he did or said brought an ounce of comfort to her.
"I just don't understand," he said. He said the same thing every day but he was at a complete loss for anything else to say. "Mom, Camille is one of the most wonderful things that's ever happened to me in my life. Ever since the day I met her and everything we've been through together. . . she's always made me so happy and it's killing me to see her like this and know that I can't help her."
"Sweetie, I'm sure you're helping her more than you realize. She's just in hard place right now. But she's strong. Both of you are so strong and I'm so proud of you." Jennifer searched for something more to say. As a mother she always felt that her children's happiness and health was the most important thing to her. But there were some hurts that she couldn't make better right away. The hardest things took time.
"We don't even talk that much anymore." Logan confessed, lowering his head so he wasn't looking at her. "It's like we're just so tired constantly that we can't even think of something to say to each other. I mean, I guess the obvious thing to talk about would be. . . you know. But it hurts too much to even think about. I can't-" Logan's voice broke and he shook his head. "I can't talk about it, Mom."
"I know it might be hard, Logan. But it's better than completely avoiding the subject. Look at where you are now. Have you thought about counseling?"
"We've tried everything," Logan told her quietly. "Everything. Counseling, talking about it ourselves, and now this. Nothing is working. It's like we're losing each other and I don't have a clue how to stop it." Tears stung his eyes painfully and he looked back up. "I'm afraid I'm losing her like I lost my dad."
"Oh honey," Jennifer leaned closer and wrapped her arms around her son. "Logan, that isn't going to happen, okay? Camille is much stronger than your father ever was and she had the support of all of us, including an amazing husband."
Logan pulled away, wiping at his eyes. "I'm not an amazing husband," he disagreed. "If I were an amazing husband than we would have kids by now and she would be happy. She-"
"Logan," Jennifer's voice sharpened just enough to get his attention. "Listen to me. You have told Camille over and over again that everything that has happened is not her fault. That is very true, but it is also not your fault. Neither of you are to blame. I know you're hurting right now and I know it seems hopeless."
"I have never felt so hopeless than I do now," Logan told her. "Even. . . even when I was sick. I guess because I knew that no matter what happened that you and everyone else would be okay. If I lived then well, that's easy. If I died. . . you would have a hard time at first, but I always knew that with time-"
"Exactly," Jennifer said firmly. "Honey, I still can't imagine losing you and I'm thankful every day for your health and that you're still with us. If you truly believe that we would have been okay eventually, then you have to believe that you and Camille will be okay. I've never been one to believe that time heals all wounds, but I do believe that we learn how to cope with our wounds. We may have a lot of ups and downs, but we do learn."
"I'm so tired," Logan sighed. "I'm so tired of getting our hopes up and then having them smashed. That's all that's happened this past year. Like, as soon as we get our feet under us, we got knocked over again. It's getting harder and harder to pick up the pieces and stand back up again. I think. . . I think that Camille is just ready to give up. She hasn't been to the doctors in months and she took our named of the list for the adoption agency. She doesn't want to get hurt again. Neither do I."
"The hardest part though. . . it's not having and losing two children in one year. It's not having the doctors tell us they have no idea why we can't get pregnant because we're both in perfect health. It's waking up and going through our day and then going to bed, listening to her cry herself to sleep every single night and not being able to make her hurt less. The hardest part is having her slip away from me." Logan took and deep breath and dropped his face into his hands. "I don't know what to do anymore."
Jennifer rubbed his back soothingly. "Just talk to her, Logan. Even if she doesn't talk back at first. . . sometimes that's what happens when you're trying to help someone. But as long as she knows that you're here for her no matter what. She'll be okay, Logan, I promise. Both of you will." Before Logan could say anything, she continued. "I know you're afraid to believe any promises, Logan, I know that. I don't blame you at all. But you trust me, right?"
Logan nodded slowly. "I do trust you," he said right away. "But Camille trusted me and I promised her that she would be a mother one day and look at us now. Some promises. . . we shouldn't make them because we can't help if they're broken or not."
"You're right about that," Jennifer agreed carefully. "But you know what I think, Logan? I think that your promise to Camille and my promise to you will come true. You will become parents one day and you will be happy again. I really believe that."
The front door opened then and Camille walked in, followed by Jo, holding Chris by the hand. "Hi," Jo said with a tentative smile. "We're back from the park."
Logan struggled to keep a smile on his face as he watched his mother interact with her grandson. "How was it?" he asked quietly, going immediately to Camille's side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
"It was okay," Camille said quietly. She rested her head on his shoulder and smiled slightly as she watched Chris, now almost two years old.
Sensing that the two needed to talk, Jo looked at her mother-in-law. "Are you ready to go?" she asked, picking Chris up. "This little guy was wonderful at the park, but I think he's ready for his nap."
Jennifer nodded in agreement and stood up to go, hugging first Logan and then Camille. "Why don't you two come over for dinner?" she suggested. "Katie will be there with Mark?"
Logan raised his eyebrows. "Her new boyfriend?" he asked. "Does Kendall know?"
Jo laughed and nodded. "He knows. We'll be there too."
Logan looked at Camille questioningly. He knew that it was hard for her to be around her best friend while she had a toddler and one on the way. But to his surprise, she nodded and smiled. "All right," he said, looking back at his mother. "We'll be there around six, is that okay?"
"Perfect," the two women smiled again and then turned to leave.
Logan watched them go and then turned to Camille. "Are you okay?" he asked her, concern clouding his eyes.
Camille had once been an aspiring actress. He was reminded of this when she immediately shook her head and started to cry. "I'm sorry," she whispered as he led her over to the couch. "I tried so h-hard and it still hurts so much to s-see all these m-moms with their kids and now Jo's p-pregnant again and-" she gave on on trying to explain and let herself cry.
Logan held her and waited until her sobs had eased somewhat until he spoke again. "Camille, I love you and it's absolutely killing me to see you so broken like this."
"Broken," Camille repeated. "Logan. . . does this mean that you're. . . not broken?"
"No!" Logan quickly shook his head. "But, Camille, it's been months and the hardest part now is seeing what it's done to you. It;s changed you so much. I'd give anything to see you really smile or hear you laugh again. You're so pale and thin and. . . I'm worried about you, baby. I feel like I'm losing you."
"Logan," Camille straightened up slightly and took his hand. "I'm. . . I'm so sorry. You're not losing me. I'm not going to leave you, I promise. It's just that sometimes. . . most times. . . I feel like it's so hard just to get through the days. I can't wait to get back to bed, but once I do. . . then I can't keep busy and I can't control my thoughts as much. All I can think of is what we could have. What we should have. And it hurts so bad and I can't think of anything else."
"But I forget about you," she continued, looking into Logan's pain filled eyes. "I sometimes forget that I'm not the only one hurting and that you just do a better job of handling things. You're stronger than I ever will be."
"Let me be strong for you too then," Logan begged her. "Let me help you, Camille. Please. Don't shut me out."
"I. . . I won't." Camille said slowly. "Not anymore. I'm so sorry for hurting you like this, Logan. Jo and I talked a little bit today while Chris played and. . . she told me that she had been talking to Kendall and that you had been talking to Kendall. And talking to you now makes me realize how much I've hurt you by being like this. It's just hard. . ."
"I know," Logan gently brushed away a lone tear that was falling and kissed his wife. "But you're worth it, Camille. You're worth absolutely everything to me. Let's do this together from now on, all right? We'll take it one day at a time and maybe. . . maybe one day we'll try again."
"You mean adoption?" Camille's voice shook. "Logan, what if it happens again? I honestly don't think I could go through that again. I couldn't lose a third child."
"Then we don't have to try again," Logan assured her, ignoring the pain in his heart that came with the thought of giving up. "But I don't think it could happen again and I just know that we were meant to be parents and that we would be great at it. Hey, let's not think about it right now though. Let's just. . . sit here and stay here. We don't have to make any decisions right now, okay? Right now, it's just you and me and that's more than good enough for me."
Camille smiled again, but this time the smile was real and it lightened Logan's heart. "It's more than good enough for me too." she whispered.
"He looks just like you, Logan." Kendall said softly, leaning over Logan with a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I mean, wow. Just like you. I've seen your baby pictures-"
"You've seen his baby pictures?" Camille exclaimed from the bed. "Logan, I'm your wife, how come I've never seen your baby pictures?"
Logan's face turned bright red, but he ignored the teasing, refusing to take his eyes off of the baby in his arms. "He does look just like me, doesn't he?" he asked proudly.
Kendall nodded and smiled. "He even has your nose. Cam, our mom has his baby pictures at the house. I'll show you them when you guys come home."
"Thank you, Kendall." Camille said with a laugh. "I'd really appreciate that. Hey, speaking of your mom-"
"She'll be here with Chloe in about five minutes," Logan told her before turning his attention back to the baby. "I heard her on the phone when I called. She's very excited to meet her little brother. Wait til you see her, buddy. She's really special to us."
"Congratulations, guys." James said from where he and Carlos sat just across the small room, wanting to be a part of the joy, but afraid to intrude on the special scene. "You guys deserve this so much. Your family is just getting more and more beautiful."
Carlos nodded. "It's incredible, isn't it?" he asked softly. "Just a year and a half ago. . ." he trailed off, afraid of reminding them of what had happened.
But Logan continued on from where his younger friend had left off. "Just a year and a half ago, we thought we'd never be where we are now. Then we adopted Chloe and a few months later, we found out about this little guy." He kissed the baby on the forehead. "Now we have two little miracles."
The door opened slowly and a little girl with blonde curls and blue eyes walked in slowly, clinging to Jennifer Knight with one tiny hand. "Mommy! Daddy!" she squealed, letting go of her grandmother to run to her parents.
"Whoa there!" Kendall exclaimed, catching her before she could knock into Logan who was still holding the baby in his arms. "Slow down, missy. You have to be a little careful, okay?"
Chloe nodded, her eyes on the bundle in her father's arms. "Is that my little brother?" she asked as if she had forgotten all about Logan and Camille.
Camille patted the empty space on the bed beside her and Logan sat there. Then she held out her arms for Chloe. "Yes, baby girl," she said joyfully. "This is your little brother."
"He's beautiful, you two." Jennifer said quietly, her eyes misting over in tears. "Absolutely perfect."
"Perfect," Logan repeated. "Just like my little princess over here. Well guys, since you're here, I guess we can finally tell you his name." He glanced at Camille who nodded, and then he shifted the baby in his arms so that everyone could see him better. "His name," he began, eyes straying to Kendall. "His name is Jeffrey Alexander Mitchell."
"Called it," James whispered to Carlos who gave him a high five.
"Great name, Logan." Carlos said with a grin.
"Jeffrey?" Kendall repeated quietly.
Logan nodded and offered the baby to Kendall. "Yeah," he said softly. "We thought he would need a good, strong name. So we named him after the strongest person we know. Your middle name anyway."
"Logan," Kendall was stunned. "You don't. . . you didn't have to do that."
Camille shook her head. "Of course we did," she told him gently. "From day one, ever since Logan and I became engaged, we've talked about baby names. He wanted our first son to be named Jeffrey and now. . . here he is."
Kendall held the baby boy carefully, looking into the dark brown eyes that matched his father's perfectly. "Jeffrey Alexander," he repeated in disbelief. "Hey there, buddy. It's your Uncle Kendall. I love you very much."
"Uncle Kenny," Logan corrected with a smirk. "It's only fair. "You got me stuck with Uncle Logie until who knows when."
Kendall laughed and gave baby Jeffrey to his mother so he could hug Logan. "Admit it, you love it." Tears filled his eyes and he tightened his grip on Logan. "Thanks, Logie." he whispered. "You have no idea how much this means to me. After everything you've been through to get Chloe and now. . .Jeffery. It means more than you could ever know."
"We do know, bro." Logan assured him. "Because the past few years were some of the hardest we've ever experienced, but here we are. And it's because of you and because of everyone else that we've made it to this point. You gave us the strength we needed to keep hoping for our miracles and now here they are and like you said, Mom, they're both perfect. We never would have made it without your help, so thank you all."
"We'll always be here for you, little brother." Kendall promised. "For you and Camille and Chloe and Jeffrey. Your perfect family."
"I've always had the perfect family," Logan told him. "I just never knew that it could get more perfect until we got Chloe and now that we have Jeffrey. When Thanksgiving comes next week, I won't have any trouble saying what I'm thankful for. I'll have trouble stopping actually." He laughed. "I've just been blessed with the greatest people in my life. Sometimes it's hard to really think of all that, but other times, like now. . ." he readily accepted Jeffrey back from his mother and held the baby close. "Now everything is perfect."
It was extraordinary how the pain of the past few years had faded. It would never truly be gone, but like his mother had said, Logan found that they had all learned how to cope with everything that had happened and move on. Now, they had two beautiful children to call their own, despite the circumstances being very different.
"Daddy?" Chloe said quietly, her eyes on baby Jeffrey. "Do you love me different 'cause I was in my Kimmy's tummy and not my Mommy's tummy."
They had adopted Chloe from a young, single woman named Kimberly, this time in an open adoption, so that Chloe would always know her birth mother. She had been a year old at the time when Kim had found herself unable to care for both of them properly and made the painful decision to give her daughter away to someone who could give her a better life. Chloe was smart though, already knowing the difference between Kim and Camille, calling them "my Kimmy" and "my Mommy" before long.
"Honey, no." Logan quickly assured her, handing the baby to Camille so he could hold his daughter close. "We love you and Jeffrey exactly the same."
Chloe nodded, looking satisfied. "That makes me really happy," she said quietly. "But, Daddy, do you know something? Jeffrey is the only one who really knows just how much Mommy loves him just like I'm the only one who knows how much Kimmy loves me. Know why?"
"Why, baby?" Logan asked, brushing a strand of curly blonde hair out of Chloe's eyes so she could see her brother better.
"Because," Chloe leaned in close and whispered in his ear. "We're the only ones who know what their hearts feel like from the inside."
Logan smiled a little and hugged his daughter, leaning back on the bed so that they were closer to Camille and Jefferey. "You're right," he told her. "But we don't have to be related by blood to love each other. You and Jefferey are our babies, both of you. You always will be."
Chloe leaned over and placed a kiss carefully on her little brother's forehead. "I know," she said, moving back to cuddle against her father. "You're the best mommy and daddy ever and I love you both and baby Jeffrey too very much forever."
"We love you too," Logan said, kissing her first and then the baby. "Mommy and Daddy love you both more than you could ever know. You're our beautiful and perfect little miracles that we've always dreamed about. Now we have you and we couldn't be happier."
A/N. This is my favorite thing that I've written in a very long time. It reminded me of Little Hollow, not only because it was written in what Lauren and I fondly refer to as, "Little Hollow world", but because it was written 100% from the heart, pure and true and I am actually extremely proud of it. I hope you all, Lauren especially, enjoyed it as endlessly long as it seemed. Whatever factual errors were made, were made intentionally for the sake of the story so I apologize if they bothered anyone. I knew that Lauren wouldn't mind because she appreciates, like me, that one of the purposes of the fictional story, is that the author can put tiny little twists and turns and make them okay. Any spelling or grammatical errors are not intentional and I apologize even more for them. Hopefully, this story is as close to perfect as possible because Lauren, you truly deserve the best I can give you. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for being the amazing person that you are. I love you. Merry Christmas!